No Health Plan Is Safe From The Stupak Amendment

The Stupak Amendment could radically reduce the availability of abortion coverage in this country. The amendment effectively stops the sale of insurance plans that also cover abortion on the new exchange. Even though the exchange will start small, the goal is for it to expand over time and be used by many mid-sized employers.

Thanks to the incredibly broad language of the Stupak Amendment, its reach could be far beyond the exchange. That amendment states that no funds from HR 3962 can “cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion.”

The House's health care reform bill did not just deal with tax credits and the new exchange, it would provide financial assistance to many employer-provided health plans, large and small. There are, for example, small business tax credits, grants for plans to include wellness programs, and an early retiree reinsurance program. Employer-provided insurance plans covering tens of millions of employees would technically be getting some funds from HR 3962.

A spokesperson for Rep. Slaughter, the co-chair of Pro-Choice Caucus, acknowledged that there is serious concern on Capitol Hill that the broad language of the Stupak Amendment would force these employer-provided health plans to drop abortion coverage. Since they would technically be getting funds from the bill.

The long reach of the Stupak Amendment could result in millions of women losing their current coverage for abortion services from their employer-provided health plans. The broad language of the Stupak amendment will, like anything, be open to legal interpretation. How many businesses get some funds from HR 3962 do you think would choose the safe route of quietly dropping abortion coverage instead of engaging in a politically charged and highly contentious legal battle over the issue? Finally, do you think this current Supreme Court would not opt for the most far reaching interpretation of the Stupak Amendment?

If you think, "I'm not going to get tax credits, I won't be using the new exchange, I get my insurance through my employer, so my employer-provided health plan covering abortion services is safe," think again. The long reach of the Stupak Amendment could dramatically restrict abortion coverage in this country.

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